The Media is Liberal? Yeah, Right…

Glen Greenwald’s Blog at today uses Scott McClellan’s allegation that the “Liberal Media” let the US down in the runup to the Iraq War as a jumping off point for documenting several events that reveal the whole liberal media bias scenario for what it is — a complete and total myth fabricated by right-wingers with lots of airtime and money.

McClellan’s upcoming book has a passage which says the “Liberal Media” basically should’ve been all up in Dubya’s grill before the Iraq invasion, but failed to challenge the (p)resident at every turn. Here’s the quote:

If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. . . . In this case, the “liberal media” didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.

If you ever wanted to find a bunch of great links and arguments completely dispelling the liberal media myth, Greenwald’s got gobs of them all in one place. He pretty much covers it all — from the crusade against Al Gore’s presidency to big media’s own cover-ups regarding their coverage of the “Countdown to War.”

McCain’s Lobbyist Ties

You know, for someone who supposedly has made a super whopping big deal about how clean he is, how uninfluenced he is by lobbyists and bribes, John McCain certainly seems to have a lot of suspicious people and events in his past.

There was the NY Times article on his ties to a female lobbyist a few years ago. Then he helped broker the land swap deal that made his friends millions. Now there’s this revelation first made on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown that reveals “John McCain’s national campaign general co-chair was being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy.” That co-chair’s name? Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, “who was a lobbyist dealing specifically with legislation regarding the mortgage crisis as recently as Dec. 31, 2007.” Interesting. Here are a couple key points from the article:

When Gramm chaired the Senate Banking Committee, he wrote and passed deregulatory legislation in more than one industry, establishing himself as a pre-eminent foe of government regulation. McCain’s March 26 speech recommended further deregulation of the banking industry as his response to the mortgage crisis….

In 1999, Gramm successfully undid the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, removing the decades-old wall between commercial banking, which was heavily regulated, and investment banking, which was not. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act did not extend significant new regulation to investment banking.

The final UBS form listing Gramm’s work as a lobbyist says he was lobbying the Senate in the second half of 2007 regarding the Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act. The bill would have let bankruptcy judges rewrite mortgage terms for Americans facing foreclosure so they could repay their loans and keep their homes.

The banking industry opposed this measure. The bill failed.

Perhaps the most important issue here is the breaking down of the wall between commercial banking and investment banking. There used to be rules associated with commercial banking that would “prohibit banks from owning full-service brokerage firms and vice versa so investment banking activities, such as underwriting corporate or municipal securities, couldn’t be called into question and also to insulate bank depositors from the risks of a stock market collapse such as the one that precipitated the Great Depression.” That’s from this article from MarketWatch which asks if the repeal of Glass-Steagall is at least partially to blame for today’s credit crisis.

After you’ve read that, check out this prophetic op-ed piece from Asia Times, written in 2002.

Given enough deregulation, there is nothing to stop white collar criminals in any industry from stealing all they can. John McCain’s policies, put forth by lobbyists, could be downright disastrous for the United States. We’ve already had a taste of his policies with the Bush administration, which is beholden to just about every corporation on earth. God help us if McCain gets in office. With advisers like Gramm and Kevin Hassett, who wrote a book about the Dow climbing to 36000 by the end of the decade, a McCain presidency would ensure that the US would become a former economic superpower. Isn’t it about time the media started asking some questions about McCain’s ties to these people?

Update, 5/30/08: Joe Conason addresses the whole Phil Gramm issue today at Salon. Link opens in a new window. Here’s a great quote:

“I want to predict here tonight,” [Gramm] said on the evening that Clinton’s budget passed in the spring of 1993, “that if we adopt this bill the American economy is going to get weaker and not stronger, the deficit four years from today will be higher than it is today and not lower … When all is said and done, people will pay more taxes, the economy will create fewer jobs, the government will spend more money, and the American people will be worse off.”

61% of Historians: “Bush is Worst Ever”

This is somewhat old news, but George W. Bush has finally succeeded in doing something right. He is finally the best at something. Unfortunately for him and his legacy, he has succeeded in becoming the worst president ever (so far). So say 61% of historians according to a History News Network poll. 98% of the group surveyed called the Bush (p)residency a “failure,” up from 81% four years ago. This just goes to show that given enough time and resources, Bush can make any bad situation even worse. We can’t get rid of this guy soon enough.

“The Fence” = Retarded

The NYT today reported that the (offensively named) Homeland Security Dept is “standing by” its big ol’ southern border fence. I think my headline says it all. The fence is retarded. The policy supporting it bone-headed and racist. Despite economic turmoil, employment remains stubbornly at 5%. Historically, that’s been considered a potentially dangerously inflationary low. We do not have enough people to fill the jobs we have in this country. And as the large boomer population begins to retire, this problem will grow worse. Too many illegals?? Please. We don’t have nearly enough. And the higher we build this friggin’ wall, the more likely that we’ll need to beg Mexicans or anyone else to emigrate to this country over the coming decades. If it were hordes of blonde-headed Swedes looking to cross our borders, none of the white folks making the most noise about “illegals” would care. They’d be delighted. But as soon as you start adding a little carmel coloring to the complexions, well, that’s another story altogether. Can’t let those mud colored people into the country. Lord forbid. Retarded. We are a nation of retards.

McCain’s “100 Years” Reduced to Four

Going back on a claim that the US would be in Iraq for a hundred more years, John McCain announced yesterday that it would only take four to end the war, thereby inferring the remaining 96 would then be spent in peacekeeping. He described his picture of Iraq in 2013:

“The Iraq war has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced.”The Republican senator said that although the United States would still have a troop presence in Iraq, those soldiers would not need a “direct combat role” because Iraqi forces would be capable of providing order.

McCain also predicted that al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden would be captured or killed within four years and the militant group’s presence in Afghanistan would be reduced to remnants.

On the economy, he promised taxpayers the option of filing under a simpler system than the current multilayered code and said he would overhaul government spending practices that have led to “extravagantly wasted money.”

McCain then promised that by the end of his first term, magical pixie fairies would visit every US household and grant three wishes. He did note though, that each wish had to be an individual wish, and that wishes for more wishes would not be honored. GOP officials had urged McCain not to mention the “no wishes for more wishes” qualification, but apparently he did not listen to them. A senior McCain campaign official stated under condition of anonymity that McCain’s hearing was “just fine,” and that he wasn’t going to take marching orders from the GOP because he’s a “maverick.”

Congestion Pricing Works!

That’s right folks, it seems that Congestion Pricing is already working for NYC! It’s not that we have the Democrats to thank for it though, the NY State Assembly didn’t even see the issue come to the floor. That’s old news though, you’d think a representative government body would at least show their constituents how they stood on such a (pointlessly) divisive issue.

The point is, higher fuel prices have indeed driven people into taking mass transit. So, because it would have hit their wallets, Congestion Pricing would reduce the number of people driving into NYC, with the wonderful added benefit of reducing air pollution. Sure, the Congestion Pricing plan had its faults, but the problems with it could have been worked out. Unfortunately, it wasn’t even given a chance.

The sad thing for NYC is that the Democrats cost the people they represent a decent cash infusion from the Feds. Mass transit in the NYC metro area is left to fend for itself with significant ridership increases. Old news about the Democrats, I know. Worth repeating so that when they come up for re-election or when they ask for your money in support.

Obviously, this isn’t the only news story out there talking about people turning to mass transit. Search online, you’ll find plenty of news stories.

I’d like to take it one step further though. What gives America?

My question. If you can take mass transit or get to work without having to drive, why are you driving in the first place?

By the way… I lost 15 pounds! Ask me how! (that’s old news too, but apt in this case.)